A University of Toronto (U of T) education workers union wants the school to require students to be masked when they return to campus in the fall.

“We’re calling on (U of T) to reinstate a mask mandate, as well as for low-effort interventions to increase uptake: free masks, more mask distribution points, and advertising to promote a safe campus,” wrote CUPE 3902 in a social media post.

CUPE 3902 believes “mask-wearing is an important and necessary measure to prevent the transmission of COVID-19,” and that the U of T has failed to take this “simple step to keep students and workers safe.”

The union says there is “significant evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of mask-wearing in curbing transmission in University settings, both with vaccine mandates and without.”

U of T has so far not announced plans for new mask mandates in the fall, but it said in July that students moving into residence would be required to have “at least” one booster shot.

Meanwhile, Western University is mandating that all students, staff and visitors receive a booster shot by October 1. The university is also reintroducing its mask mandate. Masks will only be required in “instructional spaces” rather than all of the university.

Critics of mandates allege Western implemented its policy due to demands from faculty members rather than public health advice. 

The Ontario government has since asked post-secondary institutions to follow the directives of the Chief Medical Officer of Health – who ended Ontario’s mask and vaccine mandates in March.

Spokesperson for the ministry of colleges and universities Scott Clark told the Toronto Sun that “throughout the pandemic, our government has always followed the advice of the chief medical officer of health. We encourage all other institutions, including post-secondary schools, to do the same.”

CUPE 3902 also opposed U of T’s lifting of its mask mandate this summer. 

True North reached out to CUPE 3902 for comment, but they did not respond in time for publication.